7. The Electric Guitar
Like the acoustic guitar, the electric guitar is also very popular, and has recently undergone a resurgence of interest due to the prevalence of guitar-based bands. In the past, guitar teachers felt that it was important to get good technique on an acoustic before playing an electric, but attitudes have changed, and as long as the correct tuition is given, an electric is just as good a starter instrument. Like the classical guitar's nylon strings, the electric's strings are much thinner, lighter and closer to the fretboard than an acoustic's, and so are less likely to discourage the sore-fingered beginner.
As electric guitars do not have a hollow body to amplify the sound, magnetic pickups are used underneath the strings which need external amplification, so you will also need a guitar amplifier and an instrument cable to connect it with. Electrics are generally played with a plectrum, you'll also need a strap, and you may want to consider some kind of multi-effects pedal to give you a variety of different sounds. You can either buy all the components separately, or choose from the range of guitar packs now available which include amplifier, cable, strap and often a starter tuition booklet. These are ideal for parents unsure of what to start their child off with, as the packages are tailored for beginners and take the stress out of buying. Don't forget to protect your investment with a case, and if you also buy a guitar stand it will mean you can leave the instrument out in full view to encourage you to practise more often! As with any stringed instrument, don't forget spare strings!